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A Letter From the Editor: When social media and sports becomes a double-edged sword

Getting an inside look into our favorite athletes’ lives and minds is great...until it isn’t.

‘Planet Pepsi’ Pre-Super Bowl LIII Party Featuring Travis Scott - Arrivals Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Pepsi

Let me start by saying I am a huge fan of social media.

Not joking. Totally serious.

I love all platforms of social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat. Every platform has their quirks, and every platform has their village idiots, but to someone who runs a large website — they are all invaluable in their own way.

If I were to focus on one specific platform for this article, it would have to be Twitter. Twitter brought your favorite athletes directly to your fingertips. You got a glimpse of their thoughts, their workouts and just their lives.

It was amazing the first time a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers started to follow my account, thanks Bud Dupree. It was also both odd and disturbing when the first member of the Pittsburgh Steelers blocked me for writing an article criticizing their play, thanks Mike Mitchell.

I guess you can say too much of a good thing can turn bad quickly.

As the years tick away with me at the helm of this website, and almost constantly being plugged into the machine known as the Pittsburgh Steelers, you see, read and watch as the players who many view as heroes, surprise, disappoint and shock their fan base.

At this point you should know where I am going with this.

Antonio Brown.

It all started when Brown released his “Thank You” tweet to Steelers fans. He was so thankful to the vast Steelers Nation, he didn’t include one fan in the video. No, it was just highlights of his time in Pittsburgh. In other words, “Look at me!”

Then came the cryptic tweets throughout the week, ending with Saturday’s #AskAB question and answer session.

We all had a front row seat to watch Brown, in his own way, criticize Ben Roethlisberger, Art Rooney II and head coach Mike Tomlin. I can’t speak for everyone reading those tweets, but for me it was too much. I love getting an inside look into the locker room and players’ thoughts on the game, but this just seemed to be too much.

I shouldn’t be shocked. Not with this player. Not with this team. Not with this organization, at least in the past few years. But here I was, shocked a player who had absolutely no leverage in his current situation was bad mouthing everything, and everyone, who helped make him who he is in the National Football League.

This isn’t to suggest the Steelers organization, from the owner to Browns’ teammates, have been choir boys who have always toed the company line throughout this mess, but there is something about airing your dirty laundry in public which doesn’t sit well with me.

Here we are full circle.

The love of social media.

The access to things which were so off limits just 15 years ago, are now almost public domain. But sometimes the connected nature of social media can rear its ugly head. Saturday was one of those days for me. At this point, I just hope the Antonio Brown situation ends sooner rather than later.